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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 23.04.2024, 02:55

Estonia: Commission's recommendations undermine tourism in all of Europe

BC, Tallinn, 15.10.2020.Print version
The recommendations of the European Commission for the coordination of travel restrictions between states are insufficient and are undermining tourism, the Estonian Travel and Tourism Association (ETFL) finds, informs LETA/BNS.

The association says that the recommendations are too vague and should be made more specific to facilitate the emergence of a Europe-wide united and transparent travel environment. 

"This is a typical paper from the European bureaucratic machine which solves nothing," Mariann Lugus, secretary general of the Travel and Tourism Association, said in a press release. "If the European Commission doesn't give clear, uniform criteria, countries are left big freedom to continue making unjustifiably strict political decisions which undermine tourism in all of Europe," Lugus said.

The main problem, according to Lugus, still lies in each member state imposing restrictions at their own discretion and at very short notice. "This is having a paralyzing effect on the tourism sector, as the services offered cannot be opened, changed and canceled overnight," she said.

Lugus said it is a priority for ETFL and its members to provide residents of Estonia with adequate travel information and safe travel services. She described the possibility of testing after returning to Estonia as a good solution, which enables people to make travel decisions.

Lugus said that we will continue to live in a situation also in the future where the risk levels of individual countries and regions are in constant change. "If the rules for cross-border travel at the same time are different, this will cause a situation two times more difficult," she said. 

According to European tourism associations, it is not unambiguous from the current recommendations of the Commission whether and how could self-isolation for people returning from at-risk regions be substituted with testing. It also remains unclear, according to the associations, what is the period of advance notice that should apply to the notification of new restrictions. "The recommendations are considered to be insufficient also by the European aviation sector, which has called the specific package of recommendations a political failure," Lugus said. 

The ETFL is a voluntary association of tourism-related employers bringing together 77 members. The main members of the association are Estonian travel agencies and tour operators, with co-members including transport companies, tourism organizations, educational institutions, hotels, insurance companies, providers of support services in the field of tourism and foreign tourism organizations.

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